Yoav Fromer offers a novel, electric argument today in Tablet Magazine: Namely, that the masses in Tahrir Square represent a genuinely resurgent Egyptian nationalism, in the tradition of both Nasser and the pharoahs themselves, that is strikingly incompatible with the universalist, religious-based political ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In other words, while there are structural obstacles to the Brotherhood’s gaining outsize influence—”the two institutions most devoted to preserving Egyptian national interests—the military and state bureaucracy—not to mention most Egyptians themselves,” Fromer notes, “are far too devoted to Egypt to compromise its national security and welfare for the sake of anyone else”—the deeper motivations of the Egyptian people also militate against any strand of nationalism in which Islam is anything beyond a religious faith. “With the forces of radical Islam lurking in the background and potentially threatening to hijack the revolution,” Fromer concludes, “Egyptian nationalism may very well be the primary bulwark.”

Nation State